What about inviting kids who didn't graduate with us?
Michael C. Gergel, New Boston, Michigan, writes “I am on a reunion committee and we received this question from a classmate. Is it typical to invite former classmates who did NOT graduate with us? Other classmates are asking the same question.
“Some schools say yes, others say no. For example, Fort Ashby High School Class of 1973 committee decided to invite any class member during their sophomore, junior and/or senior year but may not have graduated with the class. Other schools invite classmates from years before and after to attend.
“We have made no distinction between those who graduated and those who moved or did not graduate from Napoleon High School. I was invited to my high school reunion at another school I attended from kindergarten through 8th grades.
“Is there tradition about this or is it up to the committee?”
Riley, owner of Reunions Unlimited, Olympia, Washington, and member of the National Association of Reunion Managers (NARM), answers.
We invite, and add to the list, anyone who was a member of that class anytime in their life. As children and teens, it was not usually our decision or first choice to go to another school, move or even drop out because of difficult personal circumstances or health. Sometimes classmates do not actually graduate until the year after if they needed summer school or a few extra credits.
We do not typically formally invite those from the year ahead or the year behind but if they ask and want to pay that is fine with us. They must have had a strong association with the class. We never let anyone from the class or any other class attend without paying!
What should I wear to my reunion?
Reunion wear is comfortable clothing. People often choose to buy something new, and more than likely it'll be something that you feel makes you look good. In reality, you probably have a comfortable reunion outfit already in your closet and you’ve had several compliments on it. Our advice is to be comfortable so you can enjoy your time with friends and not worry about clothing or shoes that are too tight or a hair out of place. Comfort is the key to enjoying and being yourself.
Can I attend if I didn't graduate from that school but attended many years with most of the alumni?
Yes. Contact the reunion manager and request an invitation. They will usually extend an invitation.
Where can I find a yearbook for my class or school?
The school library. A former classmate might have one you can photocopy. Check ebay.com or other auction site where yearbooks are sold.
A new trend gaining popularity is yearbooks on CD. Search the web to find a company that does it.
Paula Sheagley found that photographers in her area purchase several copies of each yearbook. Her former reunion planning company once bought a huge selection of yearbooks from a photographer who was retiring. He told them he bought copies of the yearbook because he did so many of the Senior pictures. Many high schools have multiple "extra" copies of yearbooks in their yearbook departments and they often donated them to give away at reunions.
What to do with leftover money!
This provocative question is from Sandy, Butler High School Class of 1997 reunion, Augusta, Georgia. I have just begun to organize
the reunion and it occurred to me that more people might respond
than I expect, leaving the possibility that we might have surplus
money when we finish. Any ideas for "leftover" money
collected for this high school reunion?
Responses are from members of the National Association of Reunion Managers (NARM).
Everyone agreed with Debby Pattin &
Carol Riley, owners of Reunions Unlimited, Olympia, Washington,
and Denise Silva, President of Great Reunions, Garden Grove, California,
who say if youre lucky enough to have a surplus, you can
save the money as seed money for the next reunion or donate it
to your school.
Kirsten Richardson, Reunions With Class, Inc.,
Bellevue, Washington, cautions that surpluses can be a hassle
to track, report interest to the IRS and manage the account if
it is small (banks like to charge fees for small accounts).
Joe Smith of Back to the Future Reunions, Pleasanton,
California, suggests having the account set up legally with a
CPA to prevent trouble on a number of fronts, including the possibility
that something happens to the person in charge of the account.
After the account is set up and the reunion is a memory, wait
three to four months to be sure all the bills have been paid and
no one is requesting a refund for any reason. Once you are sure
the money left is really extra money, then start thinking
about what to do.
If you use the money for start-up funds for
the next reunion, there are some pitfalls. Who controls the money?
Is it in a bank account and who has access? Is the person who
has control of the money going to want to plan the next reunion?
As shocking as it may seem, some reunion chairmen have moved away
and taken the funds with them. If a great deal of money is involved,
safety precautions should be explored.
Linda Wright and Jim O'Gorman, Keep In Touch Reunions LLC, St.
Charles, Missouri, exclaimed: WOW! What a great problem
to have! You could give the money to your high school as a 'thank
you' gift from your class. Pinpoint it for a special use, say
for technology or library. We give committees an option of adding
a dollar or two to their ticket price for just this purpose.
The money can be used to buy door prizes. By
a day or two before the reunion you should know if you will have
extra funds. Door prizes can be given at the dinner dance or be
used to help boost attendance for a Sunday event which is usually
less well-attended. Or give the money itself as a door prize and
call it a ticket refund.
Nancy Shirey at A+ Reunion in Ellicott City,
Maryland, suggests offering a cordials bar after dinner or door
prizes. Create a calendar with pictures of events from reunion
weekend, offers Frances Farlow, Reunions For U, Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
Or participate in an adopt-a-family for Thanksgiving or Christmas.
Put the money toward what Darla Methey, Reunions
By Design, El Cajon, California, calls memorabilia enhancements. Sometimes committees rent mannequins to display prom dresses
or outfits of the era (from wigs to shoes). Or consider these
ideas that don't require a lot of lead time reimburse committee
members' tickets, award a prize to the first person to RSVP or
pay for faculty tickets.
In preparation for our ten-year reunion, we
discovered we had never spent the high school funds our class
president placed in a savings account, Michelle Webber,
Administrative Assistant for NARM in Canby, Oregon wrote. We
had over $1500 to spend for our first reunion. We used half to
reduce the per-person ticket cost for alumni from $60 to $40.
I believe this helped increase reunion attendance.
Jonathan Miller, Reunited, Inc., Weston, Florida,
added some new ideas. Project your estimated windfall and purchase
a keepsake item to give out at the reunion or as a post-reunion
thank-you for attending. Create a fund to subsidize tickets for
classmates who feel they can't otherwise afford to attend the
reunion. Create a scholarship fund to recognize a current/upcoming
graduate of your school or support a worthy program at your school
or in your school community. Or you can upgrade your catering
menu or offer a complimentary cocktail.